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Thu, 08/04/2011 - 10:24
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Kuwait making strides in employing citizens in private sector

KUWAIT, Aug 3 (KUNA) -- Seeking to curb growing unemployment among its citizens, Kuwait is embarking on an ambitious program to bolster Kuwaiti labor presence in the private sector.
Kuwait's pioneering manpower and state executive body restructuring program has made great strides in the past few years in reducing the number of unemployed and encouraging citizens to join private sector or start their own businesses.
To highlight the role of this important program in solving one of the most important problems to all Kuwaitis, KUNA made a lengthy interview with the program's Assistant Secretary General for Manpower Affairs Fawzi Al-Majdali.
"This program was launched to help introduce creative solutions to employment-related problems, particularly Kuwaitis' reluctance to work in private sector and overstaffing in public sector," Al-Majdali said.
Th e program official underlined that the program has exerted strenuous efforts to help change Kuwaitis' view to the private sector work.
"Our 2011-2020 strategy aims at turning the private sector into the main the employer in the country with a view to alleviating the financial burden on the state, curbing joblessness and enhancing the competitiveness of Kuwaiti employees," he explained.
He pointed out that the program has a number of tools to achieve its objectives.
"The program offers training, advises and financial help to unemployed nationals to help them find appropriate jobs in the private sector. The program also supports those who want to set up their own small projects." Al-Majdali said the program teams put up proposals for the measures required for making the educational institutions outcome meet the needs of the labor market. They also propose social incentives for private sector employees and bonuses for the unemployed.
The program teams propose the ra tes of Kuwaiti employees in each sector as per the cabinet decree of 2002.
For the example, the program has ruled that Kuwaitis should make 60 percent in the banking sector, 56 percent in telecommunications, financial and investment sectors, 40 percent in petrochemicals and 30 percent refining companies etc, he said.
"Through these rates, the program seeks to enhance national labor presence on the local market," he said.
Al-Majdali also noted the program offers training to Kuwaiti graduates and employees to enrich their experience and bolster their competitiveness.
"In this regard, more than 14,000 Kuwaitis with different specialties have benefited from the program's diverse courses over the past four years only," he stressed.
"The program considers setting up a non-profitable high-quality training center based on the highest international standards to improve the skills of Kuwaiti graduates and offer a good place for researchers to help them carry out their r esearches." He added that the program organizes summer training courses for Kuwaiti students in cooperation with private sector companies.
"More than 8,000 students have benefited from these courses in the past seven years," he said.
Al-Majdali revealed that the number of Kuwaiti employees in the private sector has grown from 13,500 in 2001 to 72,400 in 2010.
The unemployment rate in Kuwait also went down from 8.3 percent in 2002 to 4.7 percent in 2010.
As for 2009, the number of Kuwaiti recruited in the private sector surpasses that of public sector.
In 2009, Kuwaitis who joined the private sector are estimated at 17,600 compared with 13,800 in the public sector.
As for the social incentives to Kuwaitis working in the private sector, Al-Majdali said 48,400 are receiving these incentives on monthly basis.
Al-Majdali said the state development plan is eyeing drastic solutions to the unemployment problem in Kuwait through setting up mega projects that will absorb huge number of Kuwaiti labor forces.
"Moreover, these projects will increase the benefit from public sector employees," he said.
Manpower and state executive body restructuring program was established in 1997 as per cabinet decree No. 767 of 1997, to correct the imbalances local labor market and to change direction of employment of citizens from the government sector to the private sector.